Long Island eyes are surely smiling, with the birth of four new Irish pubs. True to the Irish spirit, these newcomers offer an intriguing range of choices, from offbeat to traditional, from classic pub to gastropub.
As you make your St. Patrick's Day plans, consider these new spots, where the beer and ale will be flowing, and the food will be hearty and comforting. Time to raise a glass -- and a fork.
FLANAGAN'S PUB 461 Hawkins Ave., Lake Ronkonkoma, 631-588-9843
Dave Crowe, owner of Lily Flanagan's in Babylon and Islip, recently opened this capacious gastropub-style restaurant named for his mother. A double-sided fireplace keeps both the bar and the dining room warm and cozy. Start your meal with the Irish dream roll -- essentially, an egg roll filled with corned beef, potatoes and cabbage. Crunchy filigree-battered fish and chips features a snowy slab of cod and hand-cut oblongs of potatoes fried to a deep bronze. Shepherd's pie is a savory classic, served in a casserole and ample enough for two. On the dinner menu only: corned beef and cabbage.
J.A. HENEGHAN'S TAVERN 57 Lido Blvd., Point Lookout, 516-544-2777
Chef Nicole Roarke updates and refines pub fare at this busy, friendly spot, where good beers flow. The place is named for the late New York firefighter and patriarch. It includes a bar area and a full dining room. Recommended: New England-style chowder, the Dijon mustard-crusted pork chop set on colcannon, the classic mash of potatoes and cabbage, pan-roasted red snapper with red beet caponata, crab-crusted salmon, plus Guinness-battered fish-and-chips and Jameson-braised short ribs with saffron risotto.
THE OLDE PUB BAR & GRILL 216 Pettit Ave., Bellmore, 516-785-5500
Olde in name only, this spacious and comfortable Irish pub near the Bellmore LIRR station offers a nice array of brews. Its menu sports a section devoted to Irish classics. A choice you don't see often enough in restaurants is bangers and mash, crisp-skinned Irish sausages served on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes. The place also turns out a fine shepherd's pie, served in a casserole and featuring seasoned ground beef dotted with peas and carrots, topped with mashed potatoes and plenty of brown gravy.
PHAT DADDY'S PUB 3116 S. Long Beach Rd., Oceanside, 516-992-5139
Taking over an Oceanside storefront that's hosted Irish pubs for more than 50 years is this unconventional newcomer. Yes, you can hoist a few brews and throw some darts. But there's also a late-night karaoke and live music scene. Chef Scott Boutiette gets playful with Irish classics. Consider his take on shepherd's pie -- a bar snack called Phat balls: seasoned ground beef, mashed potatoes and mozzarella, deep-fried in a panko crust. Get it with brown gravy or -- Boutiette's choice -- ketchup. Instead of corned beef and cabbage, you can get a Phat corned beef sandwich on grilled rye, done with melted Swiss and house-made cabbage slaw. Then, there's Phat steak and potatoes, with Guinness stout-marinated sliced skirt steak and deep-fried potato wedges.